Cafe au Lait reflects the creamy light-brown colour of these flat lesions.
What are the clinical features?
‘Café au Lait’ is French for ‘Coffee with milk’, perfect for describing the patch’s even light-brown colour. A Cafe au Lait Patch is unique, and these are some of its hallmarks:
- Pale skin makes the light brown patch easier to see
- There is a well-defined border around the lesion – you could trace its edges
- There is no difference between the surface of the lesion and normal skin
- The patch is typically larger than a mole and usually 2-5cm in diameter
- Affected areas usually include the trunk and limbs
- Usually solitary, but you may find a few
- No pain or itchiness is associated with the patches
Gallery of Café Au Lait
Please click on the images for details.
What is the significance of Cafe au Lait patches?
How many patches is “normal”?
There is nothing abnormal about having up to five cafe au lait patches.
The presence of more than five patches is one of the characteristics of neurofibromatosis type 1, a genetic disorder that manifests in childhood. During childhood, the number and size of patches increase.
Other features of Neurofibromatosis type 1 are:
- Family history of the condition
- Freckles under the arms
- Optic Glioma
- Iris Hamartoma
- Abnormalities of the long bones